Study of olive oil role in breast cancer fight begins 2010
In 2010, The Multidisciplinary Group on Breast Cancer Research (GMECM), directed by Dr Eduard Escrich, lecturer of the Department of Cell Biology, Physiology and Immunology from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) will study in depth how olive oil compounds might prevent and fight breast cancer.
Researchers plan to pursue olive oil benefits, specifically for breast cancer prevention during the next five years. The impetus comes from past studies from the GMECM group that olive oil, consumed moderately, can slow breast cancer growth.
Past studies, finding the ability of olive oil to fight breast cancer were performed in the lab on breast cancer cells. Specific compounds in olive oil - lignans and secoiridoids (compounds in plants that are anti-inflammatory and scavenge free radicals) – seem to kill aggressive types of breast cancer by suppressing the Her2 gene.
According to a UAB press release, “Among the research studies to be carried out, some of the most prominent focus on the effects fats and oils can have on mammary (breast) tumors, and especially those of extra virgin olive oil, and an analysis of the molecular changes found in these tumors in all of the genome and in the specific genes implicated in this pathology.”
Natural compounds have been repeatedly shown to aid in cancer prevention, but studies are sorely lacking when it comes to exploring natural compounds in depth that could lead to development of new and safer drugs.
Dr Escrich, who will lead the study about the potential role of olive oil for fighting breast cancer, has been studying the role of nutrition and the effect on breast cancer, and has won several awards for his research. Studies have shown that diets rich in olive oil, including the Mediterranean diet, are associated with lower risk of several types of cancer. Additionally, one third of cancers are found to be diet related. The scientists will pursue the role of olive oil in the fight against breast cancer, beginning 2010.